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i can hear you. >> the time for change has come! >> partyime after 13 months of whispering and wooing across the aisle, the president must win with those on his side. he must rally democrats to pass health care and he must lead the band with the music and magic he has. and to win his biggest test, one he let himself, the president must convince his people that the prizes worth the pain and teach the deep eth of all truths, that it is what you do with what you have got. and finally square peg, why is romney the squarehat t just play
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the g.o.p.'s intest fit. could 1012 be the year for one th is tkphot hip. welcome to the show. kelly o'donnell covers capitol hill and david ignatius is a "washington post" columnist and kathleen parker writes for the "washington post" and michael duffy is managing editor of time. has the player house summit left them with an absolute need to win. do they need to hold together on health care if their open health. president obama knows it is tough and he made the case it is worth the coost. and he's perhaps anticipating in moment. >> those in office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths and pointing fingers. and we could do what is necessary to think our poll numbers hi g andghet through the next election. and instead of doing what is best for the next generation.
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and -- chris: mike, it seems like he's laying this down the democrats will have to do this alone. does he have the power and will to lead them in this fight? >> not today and that's why they haven't had a vote and it is not law yet. but in the next four weeks before the easter recess, under the new revised schedule, they're going to do everything they could for all of the infantry and the air cover and bring to bear on the congress and try to get this through with just democratic votes alone, and that's before they go home. >> kelly you cover the hill brill quantityly and you know the numbers game. the speaker needs 217 votes out of 255 democrats, tough haul. he's got to do it. >> it is hard. and you are asking people to go against their self-interest, whether philosophical or political preservation and the benefits of a health plan would not be seen by constituents for years down the line. so, that is a real tough sell. there's been a change.
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we had the loss of john mercer who passed away and those who voted one way saying they'll vote differently this time. she doesn't have the same plate to look at to find the votes. it is really tough. >> this is a toughht fig. >> and i think the speaker will say to the democratic caucus, you have no choice. we're in this now. we have to finish it. i think the white house following of the health care summit feels it is in a better position than it has been in a long time. the president was strong, and he was in his element. he was the professor, some said, and to me, he was the prime minister. he finally had the offensive again. and i think the message that the speaker and the president will have is this must be done or we'll just vote straight down in november. >> do you think he sold the moderate conservative democrats to get republics -- republicans. >> i think he has done his best to say i tried. but everything is forgetting something, the american people don't want this plan. there's a fellow nam scott
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brown and there's a problem of independent voters and these democrats who are up for re-election in november, they're in the necessarily going to say yo u're right, i'm going to vote for it, because it is the right thing to do, even though i have to go home as a result. >> we were talking about offense with the democrats and the defensive argument that the democrats will make to the members, that's i you don't do this, you're going home with nothing. that's the worst possible thing and the republicans are -- have changed their narrative and talking so much about a spending to talk about why we elect democratic majority who is to nothing for you? that's -- >> bill clinton is a good objec lesson in this regard. he dropped health care after fighting with democrats and he went home and said, you don't have to fight for it anymore. they got creamed and lost the congress. this theory, they're stronger if they drop their weapon, i don't think has held up. >> you know, president obama could get so much done if he would just go with the 80-20
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rule. let's go ahead and agree on the 80% that everybody agrees to, and get rid of the 20% that we have big problems with. >> in a sense he's done that. thbill that we have, and the bill that they're going to try to pass is a compromise. they dropped a lot of the more liberal features and one thing i heard after the summit is the president is trying to show there's areas of agreement and there's -- you could hear them on thursday, agreement about high risk pools and insurance exchanges and the president will say there's areas we agree on and have outreach. and they'll try to do something on medical malpractice. i think that's part of the bill that will come up. >> but will. >> more of an effort of consent that the republicans are telling you. this is a bill for the whole country. >> one problem, there's an intramural aspect to this. the house has mistrust of the senate and the senate has to promise to make fixes and people don't believe they'll follow through and help cover those house democrats who would vote
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for this. that's a real problem. >> i think they're going to try to solve that byome kind of public statement, by 50 lead senate democrats. we're going to paciorek silliation and meet your objections to the senate bill. they'll have to. clearly. that trust is not there. >> and i was going to throw in this are rumors, there's a plan b at the white house as well. there's another plan in the making should things not go as hoped for. >>hat is that? >> well. i don't know what it is. >> they leaked the plan pfs it was a third of the size of what they're thinking about. it is hard to believe if that's genuine fall back or head fake. >> the fall back is areas where there's agreement and you come in piecemeal, piece by piece. but at this point they think they have a good chance of passing with wreck -- reconciliation. >> and matthews has been here. if health care passes, would that be a true win for the president or a victory, a
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victory that comes at a great cost? some say it would be a good win and some say it is a fiction. and i'm going to ask you, because you have an attitude. >> i have an attitude. >> do you think this is a loser for the democrats in the end? >> so they pass it and then they lose the house and the republicans are empowered and they gain momentum. ultimately if the democrats should lose both houses, that play ultimate li do big things for obama. chris: you think it is a yolk around their head? >> absolutely. >> i went that way short-ter because americans won't see the benefits. that makes it hard to be associated pressable. chris: you think it is a net loss to the democrat fws they pass it? >> i think that's a real possibility. >> if they pass the bill, among other things, they shea you could make government work and i think that's a big plus.
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chris: competence offsaids -- >> this system is not broken, we could make it work. chris: i think at least you have to come back and say we could do things. that's my point of view. >> if he doesn't get anything, it is a dr.asteis he's got to get it. chris: let's go to the more immediate question in the next couple of weeks and in the next month or so. will the health care bill get passed by the house and senate and signed by the president? >> judging the momentum of the moment yes. >> yes. >> kathleen? >> no. >> and michael. >> no. two say it won't happen two say it will. >> and here's the loom cracking underneath me. chris: this panel is very smart. you left it where we need to leave it. before we break, president obama does not just have problems with the democrats but have problems lining up in 2012. mitt romney is starting a big tour with television and more
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from the image he had last time around. back then he made the biggestf political mistakes, trying to market himself as someone he isn't. here was romney stalking the votes of hunters out there, trying to be the hunter he wasn't. >> i have always been a rodent and rabbitt hunter. small var mitts if you will and i began when i guess 15 or so and -- and have hunted those kind of var mitts since -- more th an two times. chris: wow. there was this with him trying to talk the language of the kids. >> who let the dogs out? who? chris: but this answer about his son's lack of military service came over as ait elitist. >> my sons are adults and they made decidings about their careers and they have chosen not to serve in the military in active-duty. >> one way my sons are showing support is helping me get elected because they thought i would be a great president.
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>> that will go over with mothers of serving people. and also tried to pass on the guy on the next barstool and just as unsuccessfully. think george bush in these pork lines and the fleal cheese steak with swiss cheese and barack obama talking to a farmer about the price of, get this arugula. and romney play want to take a page out of the play book of a great pat trition f.d.r. whose idea of being president was being franklin del nor roosevelt and nitch nixon who in the beginning new the -- knew the less n, sell who you really are. here's part of nixon's very successful checkers speech. >> i own a 1950 old mobile and we have our furniture. we have no stocks and bonds of any kind. we have no interest of any kind, direct or indirect in any business. chris: where does that connect? thand e smart money on mitt
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eyromn. the g.o.p. nominee many think next time. and scoops of these top reporters.
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chris: welcome pack. coming this week, romney launches a campaign for 2012, with a new book and a lot of tv, from the today show to letterman. he's building on past strengt the business know how that made him rich. the tough confidence that saved a winter olympics and back in 2008, romney tried to sell himself as a cultural warrior and a born again right to lifer. this time it is all about competence. he's romney setting up his case against president obama. >> when he assumed the presidency, his energy should have been focused on fixing the economy and creating jobs and succeeding against jihad and afghanistan and iraq and keeping
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us safe. instead he applied his time and political capital to his ill-conceived takeover of health care and building his personal popularity in foreign countries. he failed to focus and so he failed. >> we asked matthews and our regulars, at this point, is romney the most likely republican nominee next time. 9 of 12 say yes. >> and your meter says he's going to be the nominee. >> it is his turn. that's the way they look at it. it is his turn. he's the right man at the right moment. you have always talked about each president is a reaction to the previous. chris: your fix. how do you fix president obama. >> if the economy is in deep trouble, romney is a man with a resume. he comes in and fixes businesses and he faced the olympics. chris: he's selling nationalism not internationalism.
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>> they have a different view today and may be riper today and republicans really like candidates that play by the rules, their rule of try to be on the national scene for a period of time and good campaign for other candidates and bb a good soldier and he's followed that. chris: democrats kill their wounded and republicans run them next time. >> right. yes. chris: what about the cultural and religious issue. he came off as an incredible right to lifer. because he was pro-choice as governor of massachusetts. >> distance from that change of heart helps. he's been in one position for a longer period of time and we forget that mormons are on the national stage in many offices. there's more mormons on the hill. this is an area that people may be more comfortable. >> there's nothing wrong with changing your mind about being something -- from pro-choice to pro-life. chris: then you take a position on that very moral issue with people and very fundamental
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issue and stick to it, don't change it. >> we know so much more. science advanced that we have more information. if you don't consider that then you're not -- >> he seemed like an opportunist to many people in the 2008 campaign. that was his biggest problem. his great advantage right now is that he wants the un-obama and unpalin. he looks confident and managerial. a strategist told me this week, be careful, for now he's a placeholder. he's the perfect person for a republican party that doesn't have an obvious leader. it is nice to have him out front but that doesn't mean that the party has really settled on him. 1qu506 who would he hold? jeb? >> this person who said this, said, if there's bush no, sir stallia and that builds don't rule out jeb. >> be nice to sarah palin and get her in the race and one way
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to deal with the conservatives wo may not have loved you last time and split the vote as many ways as possible. and get sarah palin in. and -- chris: j why does it help to have him in? >> the more you have for conservatives and social conservative as an economic fix it to get a br ralt of the early states and he wants to keep mitch daniels with the chick cuss toadial credential out and although he may be what dave is talking about as one of the possibilies. he's been front run herb but the quiet front-runner. chris: how about dazzle and sizzle. is there enough sizzle? >> sizzle in a country that worries about the economy, sizzle is managing the economy. if someone says i can run it and govern it and make it work. i think the things that didn't work last time could be more effective. chris: i was wondering like an astronaut, if you stay with the right stuff. you want someone. you don't want don knots and you
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don't want shacky green. you want a cool person. >> a personality in the operating room. somebody not romney that is not afraid to be boring. chris: and here's the question. does he have the competence as strength, strong enough to knock out sarah palin, can he beat her on that? >> at this moment, that's a persuasive case for a larger number of vothse voters than her core faith. chris: sizzle? >> this this moment. >> if country feels like it is in trouble and in the a time to take a risk, mitt romney is really well position tsdz. he was a good c.e.o. at bain and company. he was a good governor, able it govern across party lines in massachusetts. he has the things that will tell people, kii put us back on the track and if people with frightened that's powerful. chris: kathleen, can he beat her with his strength?
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>> yes, let's have a little debate. i think the american people are not ridiculous. they want somebody this charge who is truly competent and can manage, can be a manager as david said. >> and take a risk on sarah palin and onlyd hel the governorship and then walked away from it. i can't mack r imagine it. >> you don't want her to run the country. >> and i do and i think he would love that race, leave me in a debate with sare a palin. >> and leave him in the event and -- chris: and i'm learning something here all the time.
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chris: welcome back. tell me something i don't know. >> we got a behind the scenes moment, we think of politicians running from the media but the chairman has violation accusations on gift rules and actually volunteered to walk
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down the hall so we could get pictures of him so we would have a good clean shot. not running from us, but offering to be on camera. you don't see that often. chris: david. >> the white house thinks the first real success for afghanistan strategy is not in marja where the battle is going on but islamabad and pakistan where pakistanis are taking down the afghan and pakistan taliban and they're in talks with india. the white house feels there is a change. chris: where is he fighting so hard against the taliban? >> he's always worked hard against them but now he's working effectively with the military. you have everybody on the same page. they're all going the same direction. chris: powerful stuff. >> in florida there's a big senate race coming up, u.s. senate rac and markeo rubio, the new rising star in the g.o.p. is challenging charlie
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crisp. there's talk that crisp is going to run as an independent. chris: could he win that way in a three-way. >> possibly but i'm doubting it. >> time heals all wounds. chris: "time" magazine. >> time heals more than just wounds. the people conceived and paid for this swift boat ads against kerry and met with him privately to talk about climate policy and they want all anyone's to be made of natural gas and made up and buried the hatchet and said, i wish i medical him earlier. chris: john kerry will forgive them. >> i didn't say that but they're working together. chris: thanks, we'll get back with the question of the week. when george w. bush's memoirs come out in november, will president obamaake we enough that there will be a bush nostalgia by then.
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[captioning made possible by nbc universal] chris: welcome back. on friday george w. bush said his memoir comes thout november. that's two years since barack obama's victory, which some say was a repudiation of the bush years. that brings us to this question. will there be george w. bush nostalgia this november when his book comes out?
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>> every president gets a bit of that and the more george bush is visible and in the talking, this will be more interest. chris: no, sir stallia? >> for some. >> it depends in large part on where things are in iraq, if after the election, iraq looks stable and people are going to say, you know, we weren't comfortable with it at the time but josh bush is right. >> and bush nostalgia fp >> i think that'll be the key if there's nostalgia. he has conducted himself knownably after coming out of office. and i think people will appreciate that. this is admiration for some things that trass send his accomplishments. chris: nostalgia. >> yes. >> so long as the memoirs don't compete with one another. chris: i think heeeds n more time to be away before he gets
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the that treatment. thanks for the roundtable. that's the show. thanks for watching and see you here next week. [captioning by the if health reform fails... then what? last year, big insurance set a new record -- twelve billion in profits... while 2.7 million more americans were denied coverage. and that's just the start. this month, one industry giant announced plans. to hike premiums thirty-nine percent. insurance companies are spending millions to protect their profits. and congressional republicans are standing with them. the question: if health reform doesn't happen... what happens to you?
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The Chris Matthews Show
NBC February 28, 2010 10:00am-10:30am EST

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